Your guide to sustainable seafood in Cape Town

Cape Town has some of the best seafood in the world, and many restaurants are making an effort to ensure sustainability. Unfortunately, unsustainable fishing practices have left fish stocks depleted and ecosystems vulnerable. The Southern African Sutainable Seafood Initiative (SASSI) aims to educate consumers about the impact of the seafood they eat, and makes it easy to make responible choices. According to SASSI, “Ultimately, your choice of one type of seafood over another affects the health of our marine environment. Remember: You have a choice. Make it green!”

Seabreeze fish and shell cape town
Fresh seafood at Seabreeze

What does SASSI do?

SASSI works with fisheries, retailers, restaurants, supermarkets, and other suppliers to raise awareness about sustainable seafood and effect positive change. They also help guide consumers to make the right choices, by making information available for free.

SASSI’s traffic-light system

SASSI classifies seafood into three categories to help you make the best choices:

  • Green is the best choice. These are the most sustainable choices from the healthiest and most well-managed fish populations.
  • Orange means think twice. There are reasons for concern about the fish, either because the species is depleted as a result of overfishing and cannot sustain current fishing pressure or because the fishing or farming method poses harm.
  • Red list species are from unsustainable populations, have extreme environmental concerns, lack appropriate management or are illegal to buy or sell in SA.

How do I check if the seafood I am eating is sustainable?

SASSI has a number of ways to check out what you’re eating:

  • The FishMS service allows you to find out about the seafood you’re eating with just one SMS. Simply type the name of the fish or other seafood into a text message and send it to 079-499-8795 to receive information on the status of that species.
  • The free SASSI app also allows you to check the sustainability of your seafood choice in real time. You can find out whether to tuck in, think twice or avoid altogether. It’s free on Android and iOS!
  • SASSI also has a pocket-sized booklet you can to carry to refer to.

What are some restaurants that follow SASSI’s guidelines?

Many restaurants in Cape Town serve green-listed seafood, and you can find a list of chefs that SASSI works with here. Here are some of our favourites:


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